The New Orleans Saints pursuit of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in free agency led some to believe that the team wasn't entirely happy with the performance of it's interior defensive line in 2017. Sheldon Rankins, New Orleans' 12th overall draft pick in 2016, along with fellow '16 draftee David Onyemata (4th round) and 2015 5th round pick Tyeler Davison continue to show disruptive potential. They did struggle with consistency at times, however, and the Saints surrendered a handful of long runs between the tackles during the 2017 season. Today's draft profile takes a look at a potential difference maker, from a college program that has a tradition of producing NFL stars.
R.J. McIntosh, DT (Miami Fla.)
McIntosh attended Cardinal Gibbons High School near Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., where he decided to stay close to home, choosing "The U" over multiple other offers. Increasing his production in each of his three years with Miami, he finished his Hurricanes career with 5.5 sacks and 23 tackles for loss. Playing well on a 'Canes line with multiple NFL prospects, McIntosh was second team All-ACC in 2017. Declaring for the draft after his junior year, many scouts believe that McIntosh could have benefited by staying in college another season. He needs to improve his core strength, and a poor base tends to get him stood up by interior blockers. Limited pass rush moves because of inexperience, he largely gets by on natural athletic ability.
McIntosh has an explosive first step, and a devasting over-arm move that allows him to slice between blockers and burst into the backfield. He shows excellent agility for his size, and good pursuit abilities to make plays along the backside. McIntosh had a strong performance in 2017 against one of the top offensive linemen in this year's draft class, Notre Dame's Quenton Nelson. He has long arms and a wide wingspan, helping him to bat down 7 passes and block 2 kicks last season. McIntosh is projected to be drafted around the 3rd or 4th round, and is viewed as a player with a high ceiling. More of a one-gap penetrator then a space eater at defensive tackle, he has the quick feet and athleticism to move outside as an edge rusher in some alignments.